Every single day, insurance companies received countless calls from property owners to help cover the cost of repairing something that has been damaged. Angelo Tumminaro and his company provide assistance to insurance companies in processing those claims and getting folks the proper insurance treatment they deserve through his start-up company.
Tumminaro, a 1-800Accountant client, owns DayCat Claims Service, Inc. in the Latrobe, Pennsylvania area, directly east of Pittsburgh. It was formally set up in June 2012, and while it’s home-based, Tumminaro also finds himself out on the road in other areas of the country much of the time. His wife, Cathy, is a partner in the start- up company as well.
As an insurance claims adjuster, Tumminaro is primarily responsible for reviewing and estimating damages for insurance claims involving catastrophes. These include handling claims for damage caused by flood, hail, fire, and wind, among other events. He also does general daily claims adjusting that could involve scoping and estimating damages resulting from a grill fire on a patio.
“I survey the damages and provide recommendations and costs for repairs to the insurance company on any given loss, whether wind, fire, flood damage, or anything in between,” he explains.
Small business owners give lots of different reasons for starting a business. Tumminaro lists his long background in the construction and estimating industry as a big reason. He also points toward the flexibility aspect of self-employment is something that was really enticing.
“The opportunity to set my own hours and visit different parts of the country was a big part of it,” he says.
In his view, being very customer-oriented is what it takes to ultimately make a startup company like DayCat Claims Service prosper.
“You have to be willing to put a lot of hard work and long hours into it,” he says. “You also cannot be afraid to do what it takes to offer the best possible service and work for your clients. I have a strong customer service background through my years in the construction field, and we’ve been able to bring that experience to the table to provide a great service package with DayCat Claims Service.”
The couple previously owned a small business that offered construction and remodeling services for close to 30 years. This has been a big advantage for them since many entrepreneurs lack small business ownership experience. Their current company is licensed in multiple states that are mainly located along the Gulf coast and along the eastern seaboard. Recently, Tumminaro has personally handled several hundred claims in New Jersey in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.
It’s All About Accounting for the Customer
He does both commercial and residential work, and the losses he handles can range from being valued at a few hundred dollars up to well over six figures. He says the most satisfaction he has gotten out of starting a business has been the ability to aid others in need.
“The ability to get people back on their feet is what I enjoy most,” he says. “I also like the ability to travel and spend time with my wife since we are empty-nesters.”
Gaining an edge to rise above the competition is the name of the game in the small business realm. Tumminaro believes processing claims fairly and doing the right thing makes his startup company a success.
“Our ability to stick to the job and do it right is what we do,” he says. “Our experience and background in business also makes us a little more credible.”
He hasn’t done too much traditional advertising, but he does maintain a LinkedIn page with information about the business. He says he is pretty well set in terms of his workload and has developed several long-term relationships with a select group of companies. However, he’s always willing to explore any opportunity he comes across.
While the couple has many years of experience owning a business, Tumminaro admits he still faces challenges in the work he performs for others.
“Sometimes dealing with folks who are emotionally distraught over their situations can be a challenge. We have to empathize with them and help them to understand that this is more than a job for us, and were here to help turn their situation around as quickly as possible and get them back on their feet.”
Starting a Business? Tumminaro Offers Entrepreneurial Tips
“You need to maintain an unwavering commitment to following through with your plan,” he says. “You have to do whatever it takes to get the job done right, even if it takes a little more time and money. You may have to go through a learning curve, so be prepared for it.”
He brings up a few more pieces of advice based on personal experience.
“Also, you have to learn how to market yourself and your product. You have to put the customer first, and remember, you’re only as good as your last claim, as in my case. So take a hard look at yourself to see where and how you could’ve done better. Then make those improvements based on your own day-by-day review of your performance.”
He adds that there are both advantages and drawbacks to operating the company on a full-time basis, but the pros totally overshadowed the cons for him.
“You can have a certain degree of freedom to set your hours and how you go about executing your assignments,” he says. “Once you know what you’re doing and can do it well, there are very few disadvantages.”
As a client of 1-800Accountant, Tumminaro says he’s been more than happy with how the national accounting and business consulting firm has assisted him.
“I have been very satisfied with 1-800Accountant’s accounting services,” Tumminaro says. “You guys have been on top of offering a very good product. 1-800Accountant has made recommendations that were very much needed for my tax situation. Everyone I’ve dealt with has been professional and courteous, and their work has been done in a timely manner. I would definitely recommend 1-800Accountant to others.”
Photo credit: The photograph of Angelo Tumminaro was provided by DayCat Claims Service, Inc. and is used with permission.